Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Lost And Found In Frameworks and Spider Webs: Notes From A Native Surrealist
"And yet, and yet . . . Denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. Our destiny is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad. Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges." Jorge Luis Borges-- Essay: "A New Refutation of Time," 1946
“Equally, the surrealists consider words as witnesses of life acting in a direct way in human affairs. To use words properly it was necessary to treat them with respect, for they were the intermediaries between oneself and the rest of creation. To abuse them was immediately to set oneself adrift from true being. Words need to be coaxed to reveal a little of their true nature, so as to close the breach that exists between the writer and the universe. The world is not something alien against which man is in conflict. Rather man and cosmos exist in reciprocal motion. We are not cast adrift in an alien or meaningless environment. The universe is intimate with us and, as Breton insisted, it is a cryptogram to be deciphered.”
― Michael Richardson, Dedalus Book of Surrealism 2: The Myth of the World
This is a story of the intellect and the artist and the role each assumes by the chair they have chosen to sit in . Our culture could be considered the metaphor of the three bears exploring Goldilocks's furniture, or perhaps musical chairs. As Gurdjieff said, this experiment of not having a chair poses it's own issues. Madness among them. We have many examples of chairs as frames. In our age, it is technology. In earlier epochs, it was religious wars and the competition for natural resources. The immaterial nature of these chairs that produce real results. In this age it is the mind, not the body that has become a territorial prerogative aided and abetted by various competing forms of propaganda versus literal armies....
You could say all of this represents taking a position in order to have the references needed for a transactional exchange. Another way of putting this, is the taking on of a role. In this as Nick Redfern pointed out, the line between fictions and non fictions become blurred. I am reminded of "Penny Lane"
..."On the corner of the roundabout, theres a pretty nurse selling poppies from a tray. Although she feels as if shes in a play, she is anyway." The prosaic as a anomaly.
“It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.” -Andre Breton
I have been exchanging comments on Richard Reynolds blog, "The UFO Iconoclast" while in recovery from neurosurgery. I consider Richard to be a friend, like many, whom I have never met. His last post mildly excoriated comments from a previous post,in which my own were included. The title of his post was "Ufology’s need to seem erudite causes intellectual chaos" I responded but my comment was not published. I sent an e-mail which went unanswered. In some relationships, silence itself can be a response. One could say I have turned a corner in that common sense dictates that shoveling sand into the tide repeatedly indicates a misdirection on my part. File this under "Lost"
Knowlege having a loftier place in existence rather than being. In this Richard played the role of an unwitting messenger as perhaps we all are. He remains my friend.
I also consider readers of this blog to be friends that I have never met. Prior to my temporal excommunication from the realm that Richard occupies, my mind was despairing of all things intellectual, and so perhaps the situation with Richard was kismet. Also during this time, I wrote an essay on Mac Tonnies which will never be published due the fact, I sensed it's intent would not be understood in the correct context. It cut too close to the bone.Oddly, Richards post concerned his projections of others context. Another synchronicity whose subject were the pretenses of the intellect.
As a child roaming through the grasslands of Illinois, the horizon seemed infinite and yet here I am.
For days prior to this, a song kept repeating within me.
At the end of the essay, I wrote this segment of the whole, entitled "Dialogs" and again, the theme was the loss of friends I have never met. Rereading the draft lent me an insight into the intellectual despair I was feeling.
"The old man cajoled me with a sort of weary disposition."perhaps where there is no truth, there must be artistic invention." The idealist within me rebelled at this nihilism served as a desert.He could read my consternation. "Well then, your friend has invented himself on a great adventure expressed as a dream if you read his work accurately. Perhaps it is a form of grace he died in his sleep"
"Perhaps death has a vividness of it's own from which we will be born" His lips curled with a wan smile and then he countered "To what? You are already participating in something much greater than yourself and as a consequence, it is something you have no control over, except perhaps the exception being your approach to it" That struck me as the first thing he said that was insightful. "I like the images that come from the word approach as a verb, and it may be we are created by contrasts, a sort of embryonic being..created by the dynamism of self creation, something unknown that has yet to set foot on it's own."
"Who or what he represented in the deepest sense is unknown to you, so there may be some truth in that..but you remember him, even now without knowing him, and I suggest to you to continue to do so."
"So he will never be alone."
In this sense, I felt my being was like a unwieldy large ship turning hard to port, and of course such a contrivance does not turn on a dime.I sensed rather than thought I should re-immerse myself in the complex yet cogent cosmologies of Ibn Al Arabi whose intellect is astonishing and simultaneously observed "that God is the conclusive argument" in relation to self disclosure. I was in dire need of the transcendent as I indirectly alluded to, in my latest post entitled "Suspension"
I remembered also, Gurdjieffs cosmology which included the concept ( musical and otherwise) of intervals. The pertinence of this was his suggestion that in a interval of transition ( which I subconsciously) called suspension, results in a flood of knowledge being released, and, depending where it falls, it can lead to evolution or continued stasis Then enter a lost friend in the midst of this inexplicably reappears from nowhere, or if you will, a state of suspension, and without any communication from me, not knowing how to reach me she resurrects our dialog that continues where it ended some four years ago. It was as if I was stumbling in a darkened room and mysteriously, a switch had been turned to illuminate my surroundings. Something was afoot, invisible, cogent and aware that seemed to wax and wane, and it had returned to enfold me.
I find out a lot about myself by sleeping. Dreams, they are who I am when I’m too tired to be me.”
― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale
The, another clue appeared, indirect, on topic a synchronicity regarding synchronicity itself. The velocity of a force unknown to me and yet an indistinct part of me reappeared to make its presence known.A strange transcendence began to be clarified in this Library that was so aptly named by Borges. This short essay by Nick closely mirrors Ibn Al Arabi's cosmology as to how the universe images and our role within the universe through imagination.
"The skeptic would doubtless discount and dismiss such anomalies by relegating them to the domains of hoaxing, mistaken identity or coincidence – or, perhaps, even a weird combination of all three. Yet, these are but just two examples of many from my files of cases where imagination – and, it appears, intense imagination – can ultimately, and radically, become something else...
“The imaginary is what tends to become real.”
― André Breton
2. A Dark Tide
“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.”
― Marcel Duchamp
This potion concerns the arc of a series of events that culminated in my finding my 21 year old son apparently asleep on the living room couch as I ventured downstairs on a bright December morning. It did not take long to ascertain he was dead cold after attempting to roust him. I kissed his forehead and closed his eyes and walked into the kitchen, furious, wounded, my heart was broken. I stood at the sink and felt as though I was sinking into a pit devoid of light. I cried out into a silence that was more silence than silence itself. To this day I have bouts of post traumatic stress and survivor's guilt.
A month before this, my 85 year old mother was visiting my wife and I and the three of us were somewhat absently watching television, chatting off and on. I glanced her way and saw her head swiveled around to look directly at the front door.Astonishingly, she was obviously very disturbed and over what I could not imagine. My wife noticed me looking at her and then she saw my mother being upset.My mother is a no nonsense, humorous person and not overly fond of melodramatics.
"I think I saw Death walk through the front door. It was a black shadow. You might think I am crazy but that's what I saw."
Some weeks later, I was beginning to sense without a modicum of any rationality an unmistakable image of a invisible dark storm approaching that I could not shake, somewhat like a tornado's wake, it would leave destruction in it's path. I had long since forgotten about my own mothers strange and out of character outburst. It's only in retrospect, do I note the indications of the beginning of this tale's parabola.
At the time I had a blog entitled "Intangible Materiality" During the course of these events , I never mentioned these events, on those pages or to anyone else. My apparent, inexplicable sensitivity to some dark future event, or, if you, will a sense of doom that was seeping into manifesting itself was like the hydraulic force of water pressure making the basement walls of a home slowly seep, while, I , unknowingly went about my business as usual, despite this uneasiness.
3.A Friend Vanishes To Reappear
“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.”
― André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism
During the writing of Intangible Materiality, it's audience grew steadily and stands as I write this with about 700,000 customers served. Although archived on line, it still draws a respectable amount of traffic and comments, although it was abandoned after these events had transpired. Also during this time, I began to have lengthy e-mail exchanges with Coral Hull, an artist who lived in Australia. She became another friend that I have never met.
Eventually, after discussing innumerable topics, she sent me a revised draft of a book for a new edition of "Walking With Angels: The RSKP Journals" to look over. This was her diary of her experiences in book form, of strange events that had followed her at one time If one likes terms, it is about encountering the paranormal . Unknown to me, at that time she had traveled to Scotland and at the same times, my dreams had turned into something I have never encountered before or since.. These were blurred static images the presented themselves in a format that would slowly be focused into a sharp image. They were highly strange but innocuous. An image of people on a bus, a building, faces. This continued for two days. I mentioned them to my son. His response was "Weird..:
The third night there was an image of a face I have never forgotten, especially the expression he portrayed toward me, as the blurred image came into focus, it was then I was astounded to find, it seemed as though it were alive, This was someone who seemed corrupted by his own knowledge with a toxic sense of cynicism that had indelibly tainted him and yet he seemed presciently intelligent. I mentioned this to no one.
She was making a pilgrimage to the notoriously toxic Greyfrairs Cemetery, After the shit had hit the fan, I suggested it was incredibly naive for a woman of her sensitivities to engage certain environments with a sense of empathy, altruism, especially engaging certain parasitic creatures with openness when their motive is to regain a half life at any cost, specifically your own cost as a voluntary host. Sensitivities can be a blessing or a curse depending on the nature of a transactional exchange. But I am getting off subject as I am prone to do, as Richard has said many times.
Although I did not know it at the time,this countenance would lead to Coral vanishing from the face of the Earth or so it seemed for several years. I asked another friend, an editor who was also in Australia to see if he could locate her. His response was negative and he added, "maybe she got religion"
Today, as I had said at the beginning of this post, I was in despair of the intellectualism above held above states of being. I suppose that some occurrences happen faster than the speed of thought as more of an effect than an origin of self awareness. On a simultaneous whim provoked by my depression, I entered "Coral Hull" on Google. Here is what I found. What she does not mention or reveal in this, despite the exchanges cited, is our final correspondence. Again, Nick Redfern's musings on imagination creating realities comes to mind...
See Note at the bottom of this page
4. Frameworks and Spider Webs
“To behold something more than life, one must scoop out the eye of plausibility with a spoon. Join the born fakes of surrealism eating the cornflakes of cerealism.”
― Bauvard, Evergreens Are Prudish
Coral joined the Pentecostal Church, which I think as I put it back then, she required the framework of a safe harbor, a belief system that integrated her rather than tore her apart.Richard, on the other hand uses the intellect as a framework. Then there is the contrast between the artists conception of the world and themselves as characters within it such as Mac Tonnies as opposed to those who build frameworks from positivism, like Richard whether it is personal or a means of expression in intellectual pursuits as transactional exchanges.
I suspect any framework poses the danger of becoming similar to a spider spinning a web for sustenance, only to become trapped within it's own strategy.And then there is Nick Redfern who seems to tie this together, in posing the link between imagination and reality, where the former creates the latter. Then we can insert the religious nature of warfare, whether it is patriotism as a religion, or opposing frameworks, opposing political parties and so forth. These frames remind me of the use of crutches, or the hard shell of a coruscation. It seems that for many the best defense against the universe is a good offensive line. Game strategies based on what is seen as a dualism, the outside is opposed to the inside when it comes to human nature. Me? Perhaps I am still in search of a chair, however, I'd rather walk than sit.
I take your leave by way of quoting Andre Breton
"But we, who have made no effort whatsoever to filter, who in our works have made ourselves into simple receptacles of so many echoes, modest recording instruments who are not mesmerized by the drawings we are making, perhaps we serve an even nobler cause."
Note: You might note that in my correspondence to Coral, I never once associated what she experienced as being, in any way, being directly or indirectly associated with George MacKenzie. When I saw the account she posted some four months ago, she inferred a sort of collaborative agreement from me concerning her opinion, which seemed to be instead, influenced by both local lore, as well as her own sense of certainty about this. One other comment is that the account she furnishes seems to be disorganized and scatter shot when I compare it to the draft of a manuscript she wrote at that time( which I reviewed) which was much more cogent. This causes me some concern from a distance in regard to her state these days which I hope is better than what it appears to be. I view Coral's case as being atypical of an artist who scripts his or her self into a transpersonal work such as a play wherein larger forces directly or indirectly influence them to an extraordinary extent, in effect cases of the latter micromanaging an individual..The discernment between being influenced and being micromanaged is striking. You can draw your own conclusions in psychological terms.
Why Not MacKenzie? His reputation as demonic or bloody MacKenzie is the local political turned metaphysical. It was his accepted duty at the time to abide by the letter of the law despite his own opinions. Interestingly, when given more freedom as a Judge during witchcraft prosecutions, he demonstrated a knowledge of the fact that these were nearly all trumped up cases in his decisions, and later wrote a dissertation in the form of a memoir about these cases, wherein he was a man of the enlightenment as flawed as he or we all are.He attempted to apply rational thinking to paranoia and abuse. Undoubtedly , Coral, in MacKenszie's time would have been a fair target for the accusation of witchcraft and just as reasonably, it could be said MacKenzie would have found her not guilty, thus sparing her life.